Manukau parks now smokefree

Public parks in Manukau are now smokefree.

Manukau City Council launched its smokefree policy at the ASB Polyfest on Wednesday.

The policy was adopted in September last year and targets park areas where children and young people gather, such as playgrounds and sports fields.

There will be signs in these areas to make it clear to people that they are smokefree.

The council says the policy is a moral ban without enforcement.

Compliance will be sought through education rather than by legal means.

Mayor Len Brown says parks are places for children to be active, play sport and keep fit and healthy.

The signs are an important way to encourage the community to maintain the areas used by children and young people as a clean and healthy environment, he says.

"It’s not appropriate that parks should also be places where children are exposed to people smoking.

"Most parents, including smokers, hate the idea of their children starting smoking. I’m confident residents will support the new policy and help keep our kids smokefree."

Research shows the more children and young people are exposed to people smoking, the more likely they are to think of smoking as a normal activity, he says.

Thinking "everyone else is doing it" increases the likelihood that children and young people will become smokers.

In fact, more than 80 percent of New Zealanders don’t smoke and smokefree parks will help reflect that, Mr Brown says.

Manukau joins a growing number of councils introducing smoking restrictions in areas used by children.

Eastern Courier